Goodness Gracious: a theatrical performance that showcases what it means to be good
Learning what it means to be good through a great performance.

Welcomed by the sounds of laughter, acoustic piano riffs, and the beginning scenes of an introductory improv session, I took my seat in the back row of Deerfield Studio, unprepared for the emotional journey I was about to embark on.

With thoughtful references to childhood classic literature and inspiration from 15th- to 18th-century styles of theatre, this year’s The Devised Project provides both entertainment and value to its guests. Over the last four weeks, the ensemble cast of third-year drama studies students collaborated, choreographed, and composed their original one-act play, Goodness Gracious. Led by director, Rachel Blair, and stage manager, Neha Ross, the “Travelling Troupe” entertains its audience with a collection of short stories—each one unique on its own, but better together—resulting in a positive theatrical experience, where each guest leaves with something they didn’t have when they arrived.

Seated in a full audience under soft hazy lighting, the opening night crowd laughed and awed as the “Travelling Troupe” performed various improv scenes—all accompanied by the soothing voices of those gathered around the piano. But as the lights dimmed, the audience was introduced to the titular vocal track, a tune destined to be stuck in your head for days to come—and for good reason. Along with its playful rhyme came its impressive dance number, showcasing the physical talents of the splendid cast. 

But it was halfway through the first story that I knew that this was the show for me. The beginning performance introduced the audience to the first moral lesson: courage. Through thoughtful dialogue and the representation of relevant subject matters, such as body image, mental health, growing up, and the importance of friendship, I found myself with goosebumps. Not only was I enthralled by the craft of storytelling showcased by the talented actors before me, but I also found myself reflecting inward on the similar experiences I’ve had in my own life. And while, at first, I thought maybe the show was starting with its best foot forward, I was quickly proven wrong. The following short pieces to come were just as worthy of applause, laughter, and consideration. 

Nods to “Cinderella,” the tooth fairy, and scary stories by the fire at summer camp all poked fun at youthful nostalgia. Paired with juxtaposing stories that displayed more serious undertones, Goodness Gracious provides a show that everyone can take something away from.

From its talented ensemble cast to the excellent creative direction behind the scenes, this year’s original one-act play by The Devised Project had me leaving the room with a newfound admiration for the arts. Goodness Gracious made me laugh, (nearly) cry, and most notably, reflect on what it means to be human. Looking out at centre stage, I witnessed a group of people so in love with what they were doing that it emanated out toward the crowd. 

Acknowledgement is awarded to the cast and crew who made Goodness Gracious the success that it is: Liam Armstrong, Ryan Bagley, Rachel Blair, Jasmine Brough, Madison Buchanan, Aria De Castro, Senzenina De Freitas, Linghao Feng, Camryn Ferguson, Ciara Hall, Cameron Helmkay, Jasmine Jenkinson, Jacob Klick-McMahon, Kaden Klodt, Rachael Liness, Nicole Lynch, Vandana Maharaj, Clarc Mangclimot, Rhys Parker, Gareth Roberts, Neha Ross, Joelle Salsa, Zoe Saum, Sarah Scroggie, Olivia Sgambelluri, Adam Stein, Maggie Tavares, Molly Tice, Madison Toma-Dame, Emma Waller, and Leslie Wright

Staff Writer (Volume 50) — Keira is in her third year at UTM, working toward a double major in Communications, Culture, Information, and Technology (CCIT) and Professional Writing and Communications (PWC). She is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, music lover, nature enthusiast, and above all, a health and wellness advocate who cares deeply about the world around her. When she’s not working or studying, you’ll find her reading her favourite lit-fic novels in the park or booking spontaneous trips around the world.



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